Papers And Originals

Short-term Evaluation of Synovectomy in Haemophilia

Br Med J 1972; 2 doi: (Published 13 May 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;2:378

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  1. V. Pietrogrande,
  2. N. Dioguardi,
  3. P. M. Mannucci


    Twenty-three operations of synovectomy (15 on the knee, 5 on the ankle, and 3 on the elbow) were carried out over a three-year period in 19 patients with severe haemophilia A and B who were followed for an average period of 15 months postoperatively. Short-term evaluation of the results was mainly based on the postoperative incidence of haemarthrosis and on the range of joint motion, which were compared with the preoperative findings. Synovectomy reduced, but did not abolish, the occurrence of haemarthrosis; however, after the operation bleeding episodes were usually less severe and incapacitating. Joint mobility was often reduced despite an intensive and prolonged programme of physiotherapy. Nevertheless, most of the patients were pleased with the results of the operation as they could lead a more active life because of the decreased risk of joint bleeding.

    In the light of these findings we conclude that synovectomy is not the elective treatment of choice for haemophilic arthropathy. It may be indicated in a few selected cases when conservative treatment has failed to control repeated haemarthrosis and synovitis. Controlled clinical trials and long-term evaluation are needed to establish its effect on the final outcome of haemophilic arthropathy.